Sunday, 23 August 2015

BRAPA - Charlton away (a Hull City day)

Putting a brave face in it - an unlucky transport day in South London
The plan was simple.  Travel down to London,  Get across London.  Get four pre-match BRAPA ticks in, watch Hull City not be rubbish and then get a sneaky one or two extra ticks in on the way back to Kings Cross.  

But of course, you cannot control train delays & cancellations.  Pre-match problems at Westcombe Park and post-match problems at Maze Hill meant BRAPA suffered.  We were ultra unlucky, on both occasions we had missed a perfectly good running train by seconds.  Never mind, it's not like we won't be back in this part of the world next season, in all probability.  

Arriving at the amazing Black Friar at 10:15am
736.  Black Friar, Blackfriars, Central London

And the day all started so well as the temperature started to soar, we reached our 'early opener' shortly after 10am to find Tom already there.  I'd been very excited about this pub having read about it in my Heritage guide, and it didn't disappoint.  Wood carved figures?  Romanesque marble gold leaf ceiling decor?  Just your run-of-the-mill pub really(!)  The Spanish barman was very friendly too as I ordered a 'tea' based beer which was an acquired taste, but I just about liked.  He told me it was a marmite beer, but he meant you'd love it or hate it, not that it was dark and vegetable extract.  What did surprise me was that this is a Nicholson's pub, and surely the jewel in their crown though I have admittedly been in some great old examples of their pubs,  None as good as this however. There was a large seating area at the side with lots of people eating breakfasts in the sun, it felt all very European and a far cry from the Dog & Gun at Wolverhampton.  I explored the area reserved for dining and it was even more ornate, and I didn't care at all that I looked a total pub tourist.

Me in triplicate at heritage pub classic, the Black Friar
We then walked to Cannon Street, where we took a train to London Bridge, changed, got on one to Westcombe Park, and a few minutes walk later, we were at our next pub.....

737.  Royal Standard, Blackheath

And as I took my obligatory blog pub photo and waited for Tom and Dad to catch me up, I was surprised to find the gaggle of bar babes only just opening the pub.  11am in the GBG, 12 noon in reality.  A faux pas by me as I should have checked Whatpub and the GBG amendments website, so we were lucky to arrive bang on 12 noon.  Our luck wouldn't last.  But for now, it did, as we entered a pub I'd describe as typically London.  Clean, modern, bare boarded, trying to be rustic or shabby chic, possibly even a bit hipster, but in the end lacking a bit of charm and atmosphere, though not much to complain about.  My Tim Taylor's Boltmaker (served in the type of pint glass I detest) was actually my favourite pint of the day.  The beer range though was so scarily in line with a Nicholson's pub, especially the Black Friar, it was impossible to think that this WASN'T a Nicholson's itself but the layout, food menu, opening times, and general feel suggested otherwise.  Still, quite a good pub whilst symptomatic of why London isn't my favourite place to BRAPA tick.

A random man walks away from the still shut Royal Standard, 1159am!
Things then got tricky as train cancellations at Westcombe Park meant we cut our losses and went to the Valley ridiculously early for a diet of Bulmers and Fosters shite.  The Valley's bar was not, shall we say, treated as a pre-emptive tick in any way!  Even the staff were rude.  Then Hull City were rubbish, and the post-match plan was to pick up the two pubs we didn't get to pre-match.....

738.  Pelton Arms, East Greenwich

Ben had actually made it here pre-match and his assessment was accurate, and fairly glowing.  It looked great from the outside (see below) and it had a very 'real' happy community feel within, this was certainly above average London by my standards.  It was so hot, sitting inside was a good idea and a pint of Brentwood Best was most welcome in the 30 degree heat.  There was a nice outdoor area, but full of smokers in this heat, Dad rightly discouraged the idea.  Again, the staff were really friendly and good.  The barman who served me was a Charlton fan so I had to relive the agony for his benefit, but managed to mention that they were a bunch of soft southerners who caused their own injury time.  One slight gripe was the range of beer.  It was vast but so many were bog standard, it seemed a shame they hadn't gone with a more adventurous style, i.e. at least one stout or porter.  Meanwhile, Tom was rightly unhappy to find bubbles (not Michael Jackson's monkey) in his blackcurrant.  If we were suffering with the heat, I felt sorry for a bulldog just across from us who was sucking on a water bottle having finished his bowl.  Uncannily as soon as we mentioned his potential for "BRAPA pub pet of the year", he wandered towards us to try and endear himself.  Sadly, the BRAPA code of conduct looks unfavourably on such showboating behaviour!  But a good effort all the same.

Pelton Arms - a very good pub at East Greenwich
Trying to get the final pub 'tick' in at Deptford may have been tough anyway, but further train delays at Maze Hill meant we again cut or losses and headed back for Kings Cross, where there was time to be accosted by un merry Millers, have a swift half in Parcel Yard, and get a pasty and juice for the journey back.

Despite the various unlucky traumas, this was still a classic example of a good football day out combined with a side portion of BRAPA.

Coming Soon

"One Month Reverse Owl syndrome" (see the glossary if this makes no sense to you) is just about kicking in now, with the 2016 GBG potentially just over a week away.  One slight concern is that CAMRA haven't debited my account with the £10 I was expecting as part of the Privilege Scheme to get it on the day of publication, and I don't want another two weeks of groping around in the dark (see my trip to Oxford last year).

Just when I thought I'd get West Yorkshire finished on Tuesday with a trip to Wetherby, Dad throws in a Rochdale shaped curve-ball and it looks like the New Adelphi Club in Hull is now the midweek tick.  And this means that East Yorks will be finished first!  Or will extra time and pens scupper it?

Next Saturday is my 'North of York' crawl, which will require a bit of careful planning but I am confident I can do the five that I want.  Of course, there is always additional Cross Hills potential on Friday but I may leave this until Sept 4th to celebrate getting my work project done!  But with it being that tricky BRAPA time of year with the GBG changeover, I'm not setting much in stone at the moment.  Exciting times.



  1. Why did the plan involve watching 'Hull City not be rubbish'. Any plan with that in is surely bound to fail. Indeed, I wonder whether the plan was to play for 0-0, in which case I think it was a good attempt, coupled with the rarity of teams playing for such actually having a good go after they have inevitably conceded.

    Brighton have started serving real ale. It is not entirely inconceivable that, when we are seven divisions below them, Charlton could start serving real ale and get in the guide a year later. I do admit it is about as likely as Hull City Association Football Club (Tigers) Limited winning the 2018 Club World Championship, but it is a possibility. Indeed, know you suggest it, I think you should have a pint at every ground we visit just to counter said possibility.

    I will come up with a plan for Deptford at some stage. It could be Charlton, it could even be a bit out of the box for Millwall. Possibly even post match next time we play Chalton, should they go down with the Tigers or draw us in the Cup. There is the other Blackheath, New X etc list for the next Charlton pre-match. Until the new GBG changes everything.

    Have a good week. Is there potential for Wetherby Friday and saving Cross Hills for the work celebration? I don't think extra time and penalties would necessarily scupper the New Adelphi, just as long as the penalties don't go on so long that you miss last orders.

  2. Hi Tom, 49 page views yesterday, 30 today - I think my blog is growing in popularity (I hope it's a result of the cards I am leaving).

    1. Being an optimist (something you cannot understand perhaps!), I always plan for a Hull City not being rubbish outcome. I am often disappointed.

    2. Hahaha, I think I will take my chances and wait til they get in the GBG!

    3. Think we will be well set for Charlton next year. Is Crossharbour good for Millwall? I wish every counties pubs were as easy to get to as London's. God bless the tube.

    4. Thanks, you too but with "Ripper Street" my Fri eve enjoyment at present, I will probably leave Wetherby. I'd be champing at the bit to get that final WY tick in normal circs, but with the new GBG around corner, I'm not quite as enthusiastic! Yes, am sure we'll get to New Adelphi come what may (not in May).

  3. I'm aMazeHilled nobody else has commented yet.

    1. I really cannot understand somebody planning on Hull City not being rubbish. I am very rarely disappointed (though Saturday one the 'We are invincible' chant had gone up and I worked out what was going to happen was an exception as I have previously thought for a couple of minutes that we would win. I am pleasantly delighted more often than I am disappointed. I don't know how you live with it.

    2. I would find it really amusing if, say, Blackburn Rovers started serving real Thwaites, got in the guide and we didn't play them for years. Would the tick count seeing as you have had a pint under the stand before?

    3. I hope that you think that Charlton are shit and are gonna be relegated, and not that you think we'll both stay up. I think Crossharbour would be both easier and safer for Chalton than Millwall - DLR to Greenwich for BR to Charlton. It could be worth looking up the timing of Tap East for the early opener. I'd say you want to be looking Dulwich (not West), Denmark Hill, Peckham, that sort of area for 'Wall.

    4. I still have the full series of Ripper Street to watch on the YTV equivalent of the Iplayer.

    Pedantry time: Marmite is yeast extract, not vegetable. I haven't a clue what vegimite it, I presume the clue is in the name but know nothing more specific.

    Was the comparison between the Black Friar and the Dog & Gun because of the common owner, or because it was your last BRAPA pint?

  4. 1. I've learnt how to go "mentally numb" when Hull City are being useless.

    2. It should, as I even have photographic evidence at Ewok Park of me with a friendly black steward. It is a BRAPA contradiction that I have no requirement to drink ale in a BRAPA pub, but those I know I haven't (i.e. Ivy House and William Jameson in Sunderland), I want to revisit to redress the balance! I may have to be more disciplined than this.

    3. Yes, all three of us in League One. Denmark Hill keeps cropping up at the moment, like a sign I really need to go, Am always relaxed about London ticks.

    4. YTV equivalent? Ace! A brilliant drama, must watch, it gets better and better. I'd like your take on the train issues in the first episode of the current series.

    5. Too true. I thought Vegemite was just an Aussie term for the same thing because they are idiots.

    6. It was actually, because of my last full BRAPA pint. And because the contrast was quite stark.

    Someone at work has been getting Blog advice from me because he wants to start one based on Bradford City's tactics!

  5. 2. What if Ewood Park is renamed the Chicken Run Stadium or something? I suppose you can't litigate for that in any way, so it is a case that no ground of a club likely to change its name every 20 minutes gets in the guide. I think Brighton is the only likely ground guide at the minute, excluding the various clubhouses.

    3. On the subject of Denmark Hill and Millwall, a lot seems to be 12:00 opening in that area. Oaka not at Mansion House but at Kennington seems like a likely 11:00 contender, I've not had chance to check but if it is may I suggest leaving that for Millwall as well. There is a train from the Elephant to Denmark Hill and also to Tulse Hill, should there be anything there.

    5. I'm sure vegemite and marmite must be different because I have seen them together in the supermarket. I don't have the heart to go over to Associated Dairy and check after the till farce of 20 minutes ago, but I will have a look at some point.

    6. It is remarkable how in just under a week you can see a contrast between two pubs with the same owner. We should become pub inspectors for some such chain, preferably one with long opening hours so we can have our work pint at our convenience and move on to other things.

    Is that southern dweeb Phil Parkinson still at Drabford? If so, I will save your friend the trouble:
    1) Massively uproot the players' training regime and thus their routines
    2) Change your previously solid and committed midfield into one so lightweight if put on a balance with a small feather from a chick it would be catapulted out of the kitchen
    3) Regardless of personal and how suited your personnel are, attempt to play pretty attacking passing football
    4) If all else fails after a game and a half, flip and hit the panic button.
    Feel free to show that to him.